Stu Stews The Sospans
Bedwas RFC 30 Llanelli RFC 15- Premier Division- Sat 3 November 2007.
Match report by Geoff Watkins
Having lost their previous match at the Bridge Field third placed Llanelli brought a strong, all round side to face Bedwas but had to concede defeat after a hard battle from start to finish. Bedwas full back Stuart Thomas, the Premiership leading points scorer, gave a kicking exhibition with seven out of nine for a personal 20 points.
A minutes silence was observed for the kick-off in remembrance of the late, great Llanelli, Wales and Lions stalwart Ray Gravell, a man of many attributes.
Llanelli opened the scoring with a 3rd minute penalty by outside half Sam Mills with Stuart Thomas responding with a 5th minute penalty for Bedwas, and long, accurate line kicking to them deep into Llanelli territory for Thomas’s second penalty. The match moved rapidly from end to end as both sides fought aggressively for dominance with many injury stoppages.. At the end of the first quarter intense pressure finally broke the home defence when Llanelli loose head prop Ian Jones burst through along the touchline. Cover was sparse as Bedwas were unwittingly down to 14 men, young wing Adam Hughes having walked off the field and collapsed with a head injury, Simon Jones replacing him. At the end of the half Llanelli number 8 Dan Godfrey received a caution and yellow card, Thomas slotting the resultant penalty for Bedwas to lead 9-8.
Llanelli opened the second period with fast, fluent handling but the final pass well forward.. The crowd then went silent as Stuart Thomas attempted a prodigious 53 metre angled penalty, well inside his own half, with no wind assistance, the ball flying straight between the posts. In a game not for the faint hearted the aggressive rucking and mauling had Llanelli cautioned and then home lock Rhodri Edwards sinbinned, but it came alive when Bedwas outside half Jason Tovey intercepted and left the defence trailing from half way, his 51st minute try converted by Thomas. Bedwas replaced prop Aled Williams and hooker Peter Harrison with Jon Salter, (his first match after a knee operation), and Brian Edwards.
Llanelli subs came on en-masse to get back into the match, their Welsh international prop Ben Broster racing through a loose defence for a fine try, Sam Mills converting to reduce the deficit to four points and the game finely balanced. The result turned on a finely judged interception in close passing play by Bedwas wing Matthew Pizey sprinting away from his own half, but only just managed to touch down as he collapsed with a hamstring injury, Andrew James replacing him. Bedwas also replaced flanker Neil Lewis with Robert Downes. With eight minutes plus injury time left Bedwas astutely replaced their hard working players lock Rhodri Edwards, and prop John Tilley with Sion Dafydd and Dafydd Lewis and camped in the Llanelli 22 metre area, Thomas accurate with a penalty after 73 minutes and as Llanelli were again cautioned, dissented, and moved back ten metres Thomas stepped up for his sixth penalty to end an immensely rewarding afternoon for Bedwas, the club moving back upto mid table 7th position.
Principality Man of the Match was awarded to Bedwas flanker Stuart Phillips.
Bedwas next face a potential banana skin home match on Saturday 10th November against Maesteg who are playing well but not getting the results.
Bedwas club captain John Welch:-
‘A great result from a generally tough and tight match, particularly the first half. Our general second half plan was to kick accurately for territory and keep in their faces to maintain continuous pressure. We hit hard in the contact areas, doing remarkably well in the turnovers and with the highly accurate place kicking we built up the lead but Llanelli fought bitterly to the very end.’
Llanelli team manager GrenCole:-
‘We were happy with our overall performance and played our traditionally open GAME. Bedwas kicked intelligently but they also capitalised on our mistakes and the two interception tries killed our chances, although we could and should have had more tries. Some of the referee’s decisions were difficult to understand and I thought we could have had a penalty try but all credit to a hard, well motivated Bedwas side.'
Bedwas: Stuart Thomas, Matthew Pizey, Phil Dollman, John Welch (Capt), Adam Hughes, Jason Tovey, James Pizey, John Tilley, Peter Harrison, Aled Williams, Rhodri Edwards, Adam Brown, Neil Lewis, Stuart Phillips, Andrew Tibbatts.
Replacements: Dafydd Lewis (for Tilley 78 mins), Jon Salter (for Williams 52mins), Brian Edwards (for Harrison 52 mins), Sion Dafydd (for Edwards 78 mins), Robert Downes (for Lewis 68 mins), Simon Jones (for Hughes 31 mins), Andrew James (for M Pizey 68 mins).